Friday, August 22, 2014

Lord Motherbear and Feral Christians

What if God was less like this:

And more like this:

A mother bear.

"But God is loving, nurturing, abundant in kindness, and slow to anger," you protest. 

If you consider Exodus 34 and God's interaction with the Israelites through the Hebrew Bible, you are absolutely right!

But mother bears can also look like this:

When the Genesis poem was shared thousands of years ago, the storyteller (verbal culture, right?) would tell the listeners about a God who made humankind in "His image" and "likeness." But imagine, for a moment, what that would mean to the ancient Hebrew people who were considerably less domesticated than we've allowed ourselves to become. (I mean, David killed a LION with a STONE. Crazy.)

So the God the ancient Hebrew people experienced could be described using words like "wild," "dangerous," and "unpredictable."

Like a mother bear.

If you don't believe me, take another look at the narrative told throughout the Hebrew Bible. You see an untamed God moving, not the Zeus-like deity many imagine today.

Christians like the idea of a domesticated God because that's much safer than the alternative: God is feral.

If you need more proof, step into creation. Many people have experiences while in the wild where they feel an unsurpassed closeness with God. That's probably why some people worship nature itself -- that's where they find God.

But it goes beyond that. Many Christians would say, "God is restoring us" and "God is restoring creation/nature." Consider, too, that God is also probably restoring us with nature.

The hard truth is, though, we cannot be restored with nature without changing. We literally build barriers and cages to keep nature out of our lives and at a safe distance. To move in the other direction, we need to recapture the full image of God into which we were made.

And that means allowing ourselves to become a bit more...feral.

Like a mother bear.

Last week, a LCC student invited me to join her church's "kid's camp." I had no idea exactly what that meant but I enthusiastically said "yes" and traveled by train across the country.

Words cannot adequately describe my experience, so I made the following video to provide a glimpse of the camp.

I feel the video makes a case for moving in the direction of feral Christianity!

It was in such a circumstance that I felt a sense of Lithuania (beyond LCC) being "home" -- undeniably because of the wildness and hospitality of my new brothers and sisters in Molėtai.

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